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AGI, Self-Select PIN and Electronic Signature
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What is the Self-Select PIN method?

The Self-Select PIN method is one option for taxpayers to use when signing their electronic tax return. The PIN is any five numbers (except all zeros) the taxpayer chooses to enter as their electronic signature. A PIN is needed for each taxpayer if filing through an Electronic Return Originator (ERO), or using Tax Preparation Software, the taxpayer Date of Birth and Prior Year Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) or Prior Year PIN from the original return must also be entered for authentication.

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Who is eligible to use the Self-Select PIN method?

The following taxpayers are eligible to use the Self-Select PIN method:

Taxpayers who are eligible to file Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or 1040-SS (PR) for the current tax year.

Taxpayers who did not file for the prior tax year, but have filed previously.

Taxpayers who are age 16 or older on or before December 31, of the tax year who have never filed a tax return.

Primary Taxpayers under age 16 who have filed previously.

Secondary Taxpayers under age 16 who have filed in the immediate prior year (Tax Year 2006).

Military personnel residing overseas with APO/FPO addresses.

U.S. Citizens and resident aliens residing in the American Possessions of the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam and Northern Marianas, or with foreign country addresses.

Taxpayers filing Form 4868 (extension of time to file), or Form 2350 (extension for certain U.S. citizens living abroad).

Those who are filing on behalf of deceased taxpayers.

Taxpayers using a tax practitioner and required to file the following forms, which must be attached to Form 8453, U.S. Individual Income Tax Transmittal for an IRS e-file Return:

  • Form 1098-C, Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes (or acceptable documentation/required donor documentation)
  • Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative (only for an electronic return signed by an agent)
  • Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method
  • Form 3468, Computation of Investment Credit (if Historic Structure Certificate is required) - attach a copy of the first page of NPS Form 10-169a, Historic Preservation Certification Application (Part 2 - Description of Rehabilitation), with an indication that it was received by the Department of the Interior or the State Historic Preservation Officer, together with proof that the building is a certified historic structure (or that such status has been requested)
  • Form 4136, Credit for Federal Tax Paid on Fuels (if certificate and/or reseller statement is required) - attach the Certificate for Biodiesel and, if applicable, Statement of Biodiesel Reseller or a certificate from the provider identifying the product as renewable diesel and, if applicable, a statement from the reseller
  • Form 5713, International Boycott Report
  • Form 8283, Non-Cash Charitable Contributions, Section A (if any statement or qualified appraisal is required) or Section B, Donated Property, and any related attachments (including any qualified appraisal or partnership Form 8283)
  • Form 8332, Release of Claim to Exemption for Child of Divorced or Separated Parents (or certain pages from a post-1984 decree or agreement, see instructions)
  • Form 8858, Information Return of U.S. Persons with Respect to Foreign Disregarded Entities
  • Form 8864, Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Fuels Credit - attach the certificate for Biodiesel and, Statement of Biodiesel Reseller or a certificate from the provider identifying the product as renewable diesel and, if applicable, a statement from the reseller
  • Form 8885, Health Coverage Tax Credit, and all required attachments
  • Schedule D-1, Continuation Sheet for Schedule D (Form 1040) (or a statement with the same information), if you elect not to include your transactions on the electronic short-term capital gain (loss) or long-term capital gain (loss) records
  • Worksheets 1 through 4 from Pub. 517, Social Security and other Information for Members of the Clergy and Religious Workers (or other statement showing the required information and computations)

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What is the Prior Year PIN?

The Prior Year PIN is the five digit electronic signature used to sign your current tax return. You either created a PIN signature or your ERO assigned or generated a PIN signature if you used a tax professional to e-file your tax return. You can use the prior year PIN in lieu of the prior year AGI to verify your identity when using electronic signature.

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Where do I get my PIN?

You have the option to create your own PIN. You do not register the PIN with IRS before filing or need to contact IRS to get it. When you use one of the commercially available tax software packages that support the Self-Select PIN option, you will be guided through the process of entering your own PIN. If you use a tax professional, the preparer will help you. If filing a joint return, a PIN is needed for each taxpayer. You may also agree to have your ERO generate your PIN.

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Can I use the same PIN next year?

Yes. Or you may choose any 5 digits except all zeros.

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Is the PIN a Universal PIN?

No. It is used as the taxpayer's electronic signature on their Individual Income Tax Return only; however, taxpayers may also use it as a piece of authentication when signing their next year tax return using electronic signature.

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What is the original Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)?

The original AGI is the amount from the taxpayer's prior year originally filed return as accepted by IRS. This amount is not the amount from an amended tax return (Form 1040X) or a math error correction made by IRS. When filing your current tax return, use the original AGI from your prior year tax return.

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How can I get my prior years original AGI or PIN if I don't have last year's tax return?

You may call the IRS's toll free number at 1-800-829-1040. By providing certain information to the Customer Service Representative (such as your name, SSN, and current address), you may receive the prior year original AGI amount or prior year PIN over the phone or you may request a free transcript. Allow 7 to 10 days to receive the transcript.

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Where can I find the original AGI on my prior year tax return?

On your prior year tax return the original AGI is located as listed below:

  • Form 1040 - Line 37
  • Form 1040A - Line 21
  • Form 1040EZ - Line 4

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How do I get my original AGI if I cannot locate my prior year return?

You may call the IRS toll free number at 1-800-829-1040. If you can provide certain information to the Customer Service Representative (such as your name, SSN and current address), you may receive your information over the phone; or you may request a free transcript. It may take 7 to 10 days to receive a copy of the transcript. (Be sure to ask for your original AGI so you can file electronically using a Self-Select PIN method.)

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If I have never filed a return or did not need to file a tax return last year, what amount do I enter for the prior year original AGI or prior year PIN?

Enter zero ("0") for the original AGI. Do not leave this field blank. The return will reject if the field is left blank for a zero amount. However, the prior year PIN field should be blank.

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If I filed my tax return after April 15 last year, what AGI amount should I use?

If you filed your tax return after April 15, and it was not received and processed by IRS by the beginning of December, you must enter "0" (zero) for the AGI amount.

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What do I use for the prior year original AGI or prior year PIN if my filing status has changed from last year?

If the change is to Married Filing Jointly, then each taxpayer will use their Individual original total AGI amount or PIN from their respective prior year tax returns.
If the change is from Married Filing Jointly, then each taxpayer will use the same original total AGI amount or PIN from the prior year joint return.

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What AGI amount or PIN do I use if I filed jointly with a different spouse in the prior tax year?

If you filed jointly with a different spouse in the prior tax year, you should use the total AGI amount from the joint return filed with the ex-spouse or you may use the PIN you selected from the joint return filed with the ex-spouse.

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What do I use if my AGI was negative?

If your AGI was negative, you need to enter the AGI as a negative amount.

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What AGI amount do I use if only one spouse of the joint return earned all the wages?

Both you and your spouse on the joint return will use the total AGI amount from the originally filed return. The AGI amount should not be divided between the primary and spouse.

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How does the Self-Select PIN method work with computer software?

If the electronic software package you purchased or downloaded from the Internet supports the Self-Select PIN option, you will be prompted to enter your Date of Birth and the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) or PIN from your originally filed prior year tax return. (Do not use amounts from an amended return, a corrected amount from a math error notice, or a changed amount from IRS). Then, sign your return by entering your PIN. It's that simple.

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Can I use the Self-Select PIN method if I want a tax professional to prepare my return?

Yes. You should bring a copy of your prior year tax return with you or have the original Adjusted Gross Income amount or PIN from your prior year tax return. This piece of information, along with your date of birth, is required to use the Self-Select PIN method.

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What happens if two taxpayers select and use the same PIN to sign their return?

It is acceptable for two taxpayers to choose the same five digit PIN. The personal information (Social Security Number, Date of Birth, and original Adjusted Gross Income or PIN from your prior year tax return) you provide to IRS is also used to verify your identity.

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How will the IRS know who I am if I use the PIN?

The personal information you provide to IRS is used to verify your identity. It is acceptable for two taxpayers to choose the same five digit PIN.

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Is it acceptable for my Electronic Return Originator (ERO) to assign or generate my PIN?

Yes. If certain conditions are met, the ERO can determine the taxpayer's PIN. If you agree, the ERO can manually assign or generate your PIN. You will show your consent by completing a Form 8879, IRS e-file Signature Authorization, which contains the PIN you will use as your signature on your tax return. Form 8878, IRS e-file Signature Authorization for Form 4868 and Form 2350, must be completed for application extensions when the taxpayer's PIN has been manually assigned or generated by the ERO.

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If I sign a joint return using a PIN, does my spouse also have to use a PIN?

Yes. When you file a joint return using electronic signatures (PINs), both you and your spouse must sign using a PIN. Both taxpayers can choose any five digits except all zeros.

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Can I enter my spouse's PIN if he/she is unavailable?

No. Each taxpayer should enter their own PIN. Form 8879, IRS e-file Authorization, should be used to authorize your tax professional to enter the PIN if one spouse is unavailable to sign the tax return.

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Can I authorize my tax professional to enter my PIN on my behalf?

Yes. Form 8879, IRS e-file Signature Authorization, is used to authorize your tax professional to input your PIN as your signature on your electronic tax return. It is provided as a convenience for taxpayers who are unavailable to personally enter their PINs.

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Do both spouses filing a joint return have to authorize the tax professional to input their PINs?

No. Only the taxpayer who is not present to sign the return should authorize the preparer to enter their PIN. If neither spouse is present to sign a joint return, each can authorize the preparer to enter his/her respective PIN. But, a spouse who is present should enter his/her own PIN, even if the preparer was authorized to enter the other spouse's PIN.

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Are all taxpayers who file electronically and sign with a PIN required to pay any balance due electronically?

No. Taxpayers who prefer to pay by check or money order should file Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher. Form 8879, IRS e-file Signature Authorization, should not be used to transmit any payments.

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